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Colorado seeks to raise betting limits

May 6, 2008 7:00 PM

Native Niche by By GT Staff | A proposed ballot initiative would ask Colorado voters to enable the state’s gambling towns to increase the betting limit, add new games and extend casinos’ operating hours.

If the measure makes it to the ballot, residents of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek could vote on whether to increase bet limits from $5 up to $100, add craps and roulette, and allow casinos to operate 24 hours a day. Casinos currently must close at 2 a.m.

The state’s casino industry for years has complained about the betting limit, citing it as a reason there are few out-of-state gamblers. Colorado is the only gambling state with a $5 bet limit.

The measure, filed last week with the Legislative Council, still has to go through the title board to get a ballot title, and proponents must submit 76,000 certified signatures to get it on the November ballot.

The initiative would also require voters statewide to approve an increases in the tax rate on casinos.

Illinois revenues increase 3%

Gambling revenues in Illinois increased about 3% in 2007 and attendance in casinos rose by 2%, according to the Illinois Gaming Board’s annual report.

Casino revenue reached nearly $2 billion last year.

But the state’s indoor smoking ban could put a dent into gaming win this year. Casino officials have lobbied lawmakers for an exception to the smoking ban, but the idea has been voted down once already this year.

While a majority of Illinois riverboats reported gains in 2007, Casino Rock Island was among those that saw a decline.

Southern Summit to focus on economy

The Southern Gaming Summit scheduled for May 7-8 in Biloxi, Mississippi, will shift its focus from rebuilding of the industry since Hurricane Katrina to navigating the changing economy in 2008.

"There’s a lot of uncertainty out there right now," said Cathy Beeding, vice president and general counsel at Island View Casino and panelist for the opening presentation – Decision 2008: What’s at Stake for Gaming?

Among the topics to be explored in the opening session is the slumping economy’s effect on casinos’ business, rising fuel costs and the expansion of nearby Seminole casinos in Florida.

Another hot topic will be "Building a Destination," which will explore the casino industry’s role in creating a viable tourist destination.

The expo will also showcase computer games, products and casino services.